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Saturday, November 11, 2006

Chronic Cantina - Review #1

Date of Visit: November 4, 2006
Chronic Cantina
1870 Harbor Blvd
Costa Mesa, CA 92627
(949) 646-0227

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Chronic Cantina - Banner

Chronic Cantina is to Chronic Taco what Taco Rosa is to Taco Mesa: the more elite flagship restaurant of a small, laid back Orange County Mexican food chain. Except that Chronic Cantina has way more big screen TVs than Taco Rosa, possibly even more big screens than all the Mexican restaurants I've been to combined. I think it's impossible to sit anywhere in Chronic Cantina's large open air seating area and not be able to see one of their big screen TVs broadcasting all the sporting events you could hope for. I didn't count them but I think someone estimated there could be 40 there.

Chronic Cantina - Open Air Seating

You can find Chronic Cantina on the upper level of Triangle Square (never realized until now what an odd name that is for a shopping center - it's a triangle and a square?) on Harbor and 19th in Costa Mesa. This center was all the rage when it opened in '93 or '94 but slowly died down as merchants like Nike Town and Virgin Records and some sort of virtual reality laser tag game moved away. Chronic Cantina seems to be infusing some of the life back into the place. I'm pretty sure the chronically scantily clad waitresses help bring in a lot of male customers.

Chronic Cantina - Big Screen TVs


Chronic Cantina - More TVs


Chronic Cantina - Fire Pit


Chronic Cantina - Menu

Chronic Cantina is not just about watching sports. Did I mention they also have Mexican food? The menu mentions that they use third generation recipes for their food. I ordered a grilled garlic shrimp taco and a carnitas torta a la carte and together they made a great lunch. The taco was stuffed so full I had to eat a lot of the filling out with my fork before I could attempt to pick the rest up and eat in a proper taco eating manner.

Chronic Cantina - Carnitas Torta


Chronic Cantina - Grilled Garlic Shrimp Taco

They also seem to have a MySpace Profile, although I'm not sure if it's official. They might also be the only Mexican food chain that was spun off from a clothing brand, but, hey, that's the county we live in and that's where I'm stayin'.

The service from my waitress (Danielle?) was excellent and I had a nice chat with the owner, Mike Biello, who was quite affable. Chronic Cantina earns a four Speedy Gonzales rating:

Speedy Gonzales Speedy Gonzales Speedy Gonzales Speedy Gonzales

9 comments:

Chubbypanda said...

Triangle Square frightens me. I used to work in that area, and I stopped by there once or twice for some reason or another.

I got a real feeling of decay from the place, the same as I get from downtown Long Beach. Game over. Elvis has left the building.

- Chubbypanda

ChristianZ said...

Yeah, I hear ya. But if they can change things around, more power to them.

elmomonster said...

Wow, there's still stuff in Triangle Square that's open. Whodathunk! Is the Yard House still there?

One time, I couldn't find parking, and I had to CIRCLE TRIANGLE SQUARE!

Sorry, couldn't resist.

ChristianZ said...

I'm pretty sure Yard House is still there. They are one of the newer tenants.

Anonymous said...

My husband and I stopped in we are retirement age. We loved the food and drink. The service was excellent, we sat around the firepit and talked with the young ones and had a great time. I saw no decay. Try another night. I felt perfectly safe coming and going. Cheryl

Anonymous said...

This place is horrible.. Bad drinks and horrible food..

Anonymous said...

This place gets old fast. Rude employees, slow service, crappy food, horrible music, bootleg people...all around pain in the ass

DanGarion said...

I just can't see myself ever going and eating here. I just think they exploit the "cool" drug culture by using they name which is normally connected to the use of marijuana. It just bugs me and rubs me the wrong way. Fortunately there are hundreds of other great Mexican establishments I can enjoy instead of this one.

Anonymous said...

great food and atmosphere